Any difference between:

"He is an important customer of ours"


"He is our important customer"

  • 5
    The first sentence would imply you have more than one important customer while the 2nd one points out that the person you're talking about is important.
    – KeykoYume
    Sep 24, 2018 at 14:25
  • In the construction an X of Y, if Y is a pronoun we almost always use the possessive form (customer of ours, friend of mine). But that's not always the case with other nouns, as explored by my question about the usage on ELU, where it's pointed out that plenty of people who would never say He's a friend of me are perfectly happy with He's a friend of the King. Sep 24, 2018 at 15:25
  • Please see the previous question: ell.stackexchange.com/questions/180638/use-of-his-or-him
    – Lambie
    Sep 24, 2018 at 15:41
  • then what about "He is one of our important customers"? Would it be exactly the same as the "He is an important customer of ours"?
    – Kent Tong
    Sep 25, 2018 at 2:41

2 Answers 2


Yes, it's pretty different.

The first sentence means "He is one of our important customers". You have several important customers, and he's one of them. "ours" refers to "our important customers".

On your second sentence, you're saying you only have one important customer. It's technically correct but I don't think it's employed a lot.


When someone has more than one of something, we can use a/an + noun +

  • of + noun + 's: "That's a good idea." "Actually, it was an idea of John's." (one of John's ideas)
  • of + possessive pronoun: Gerald is a cousin of mine from Devon. (one of my cousins)

So, if you say "he is an important customer of ours", you mean he is one of your important customers. If you say "he is our important customer", there is nothing in the sentence that would imply that you have other customers. You just state the fact - that customer is important to you.

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